Don’t Blurt It Out!

Don't Blurt it OutYou know how it goes – your brain thinks it, and out it pops before you realise it. Sometimes it can be difficult to bite your tongue, especially if you aren’t in the habit of doing so! But that’s all it is, really: a habit. Luckily, there are some techniques you can use to break the habit. Here are the top 10 tips to help you stay in control.

  1. Pause. This is the hardest bit. Start listening to your inner self and when that thought or that “smart Alec” comment comes into your head, pause before you speak. The pause should give you just enough time to say to yourself, “Think! Do you really want to say this out loud?”
  2. Reframe what the other person has just said. Often, if we simply repeat what the other person has said, he or she will keep talking. This way, we can be quiet, giving us time to reframe what we want to say. This technique also helps build rapport with the other person, as he or she believes we are truly listening.
  3. Soften your voice, so you sound gentler and less emotional. Often our emotions take hold and we can sound sarcastic, whiny or shrill – depending on our voice and what emotional baggage we are carrying around with us.
  4. Find a constructive reason to move away, perhaps to find some information or a file, or to speak to someone else. It is better not to say anything at all rather than say something before you have been able to consider the consequences.
  5. Ask for time to respond. Sometimes we think an immediate answer is required, yet often that “on the spot” answer isn’t the best one. Consider asking for a minute (or an hour or a day) to think it through before getting back to the person. This then gives you time to think more clearly and formulate your response.
  6. Write it down. You become more objective when you read your own words. It puts some distance between you the writer and you the person, as if you were a neutral observer. This distance makes you more detached and better able to handle the situation more calmly.
  7. Consider your options. Write down, or at least think through, at least four possibilities. Then consider the consequences of each, and choose which one you want to go for. Writing it down will re-engage your left brain (which deals with language) and allow your right brain (which deals with emotion) a chance to slow down.
  8. One of your options may be to do nothing. This is a perfectly fine response. Sometimes it’s the best response.
  9. If you decide to say something and it doesn’t have the desired effect, don’t beat yourself up – at least you approached it in a considered, calm way!
  10. Remember that you can always choose to say tomorrow what you didn’t say today, but you can never “un-say” what you have already said.